National Geographic : 2015 Nov
ART: ROMUALDO FAURA. PHOTO: ROGÉRIO REIS, TYBA. SOURCES: CLIMATE BONDS INITIATIVE; WORLD BANK GREEN BONDS A warming world isn’t likely to change money—but it could affect how peo ple invest it. Banks are now offering “green bonds,” which let investors link their money to environmental causes. Green bonds are similar to regular bonds, but they fund projects that mitigate climate change or help people adapt to it. “We’re telling the investor exactly how the money will be used,” says World Bank sustainability adviser Laura Tlaiye. Cleanenergy proposals qualify, as do innovations in waste management and agricultural efficiency. In Rio de Janeiro $600 million went to improve a traffic alleviating suburban rail network (right). Belarus borrowed $90 million to replace natural gas heating with biomass. U.S. banks have created their own green bonds; earlier this year one leading bank raised half a billion dollars to finance cities’ plans for new solar capacity, wind turbines, and energyefficient street lamps. Renewable energy Transport Water Energy efficiency Climate adaptation Waste and pollution Green-bond investments by category, as of May 2015 Land use 38% 10 4 64 28 10 BATTERIES Extreme weather is a leading cause of power outages. When hospitals, transport systems, and other vital services lose juice, safety is threatened. One way to increase backup power as well as relieve our strained grid: batter ies. Energypolicy analyst Todd OlinskyPaul says two new types could help make the grid more resilient. Flow batteries, hitting the market now, provide affordable longterm storage. Lithiumion batteries, used in electric vehicles, are good for shorter bursts of power. And then there are liquidmetal batteries. Designed by MIT electrochemist Donald Sadoway, these efficient innovations are now backed by a renewableenergy investor named Bill Gates. Hotels worldwide have joined an effort to standardize reporting of their carbon emissions and efforts to reduce them. Businesses 2014 37.3 billion 2007 807 million Green bonds issued globally U.S . dollar equivalent Levi Strauss & Co. has saved some 260 million gallons of water since 2011 by cutting use during garment production. A data center can use as much as 200 times more electricity than a typical office.